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ERIC Number: ED547810
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 201
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2675-3148-3
Register Variation in Thai-English Interphonology: The Contrast of /R/ and /L/
Phootirat, Parichart
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
In Thai, the presence of a surface contrast between /r/ and /1/ in onsets is sociolinguistically governed--in formal contexts, the surface variants are contrastive, while in less formal contexts, they are often indistinguishable. This dissertation examines whether this effect also occurs in the American English production of the /r/-/l/ contrast by Thai ESL learners in different speech contexts. The research focuses on phonemic contrasts in three positions--syllable-initial singletons, syllable-initial clusters, and syllable-final singletons. The contrast patterns in the L1 and interlanguage (IL) were compared and analyzed to test the sociolinguistic variation transfer hypothesis, which claims that the distribution of phones in both L1 and IL will be governed by the same sociolinguistic principle. The major finding is that Thai L2 learners did not demonstrate identical patterning of the /r/-/l/ distinction produced in the L1 and IL; this result does not conform to the prediction of the hypothesis. The syllable-initial data in both singletons and clusters exhibits different implementations of the liquid phonemic distinction between the L1 and English IL. While the sociolinguistic principle clearly regulates the distribution of the liquid contrast in the L1, it does not impact the distribution of the corresponding phonemes in the IL. Regardless of register constraint, the distribution of liquids in the IL in fact illustrates the acquired target variants, which explicitly suggests the progress of learning in the TL. Despite the lack of liquid phonemes in codas in the L1, the study found that 64% of the subjects had acquired the /r/-/l/ contrast in codas in some tasks. Interestingly, the distribution of the liquid distinction produced in the IL systematically varied depending on register. This result can be explained by the fact that production in higher registers is permeable to either NL or TL structures, whereas phonemes produced in lower registers are unique from those in either the NL or TL. This uniqueness is found in the English loanwords Thai speakers adapt into their native phonology. Additionally, alternative explanations for the results of syllable-final In from the acquisition of /r/-less varieties and syllable simplification techniques are offered. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A